New Labour Code  and Regulations | UPSC
Changes in labour laws
WHY IN NEWS:
What does the new Industrial Relations Code say? How does it affect unions and the right to strike?
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : Bills : DPSP : Wages : Remunerations
For PRELIMS it is important to understand the major provisions of the New Labour Code 2020.
For MAINS concentrate on concerns and changes in the code from 2019 . Let us dive in !
- The Codes on industrial relations brings social security, occupational safety, health and working conditions amalgamated.
- These labour code replace several diverse laws on the subject.
- Last year, a separate Code on Wages was enacted.
- The Codes enacted now are modified versions of the Industrial Relations Code Bill introduced in 2019.
- Industrial Relations Code aims to free employees from the constraints of earlier labour laws.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CODE
The Industrial Relations Code combines the features of three erstwhile laws —
- The Trade Unions Act, 1926.
- The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CODE FEATURES
- It introduces ‘fixed term employment’, giving employers the flexibility to hire workers based on requirement through a written contract.
- Fixed term employees should be treated on a par with permanent workers in terms of hours of work, wages, allowances and other benefits.
- They should be allotted periods and hours of work, holidays, pay days etc.
- The employee shifts, attendance, conditions for leave, termination of employment, or suspension is subjected to redressal of grievances.
- Earlier, the 2019 Bill applied this to units with 100 employees or more.
- The threshold has been raised to 300 in the 2020 Code.
- The Code says any establishment that employs 300 or more workers must prepare standing orders relating to classification of workers.
- Where there is more than one trade union in an establishment, the sole negotiating union status will be given to the one that has 51% of the employees as its members.
- It has been brought down from the 75% requirement in the 2019 version.
New Labour Code UPSC
- Where no union qualifies under this criterion, the employer must constitute a ‘negotiating council’ .
- This will consist of representatives drawn from the various unions, with only those with at least 20% of employees as its members.
PROVISIONS ON LAY-OFF AND CLOSURE
- Prior permission of the government is needed for lay-off, retrenchment and closure .
- These are made applicable to only establishments that had employed 300 or more workers .
- A lay-off would be deemed illegal if it is effected without permission or is done despite refusal of permission.
- It will not be illegal if the employee had been offered alternative employment or cause undue hardship.
- The Code prescribes notice period and prior permission before retrenchment of anyone who has been in continuous service for a year or more.
- Such a prior permission requirement is in place also for closure of a unit, with the application to be filed 90 days prior to the intended closure.
NEW CODE AND RIGHT TO STRIKE
- No unit shall go on strike in breach of contract without giving notice 60 days before the strike.
- The code also permit strike within 14 days of giving such a notice, or before the expiry of any date given in the notice for the strike.
- Further, there should be no strike during any conciliation proceedings, or within seven days of the conclusion of such proceedings.
- Similar restrictions have been given on the employer from announcing a lock-out.
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, had placed such restrictions on announcing strikes only in respect of public utility services.
- Even the Standing Committee on Labour had favoured limiting these provisions to public utilities.
SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | New Labour Code  and Regulations | UPSC